Sunday, June 14, 2009

Google Squared and Wolfram Alpha

On June 3, 2009, Google announced a new feature Google Squared, "an experimental search tool that collects facts from the web and presents them in an organized collection, similar to a spreadsheet." While recognizing that the tool could be useful, Google acknowledged, "This technology is by no means perfect."

Dan Giancaterino, Internet Librarian, at Jenkins Law Library, in an amusingly titled post, Google Squared Needs a Bit More Time in the Easy Bake Oven, also finds that Google Squared has some issues. Giancaterino suggests that Wolfram/Alpha "has some advantages" stemming, in part, from the fact that Wolfram Alpha is the result of a more substantial (lengthier) development process.

Wolfram Alpha, described as a "computational knowledge engine", does not simply return a list of results based on a query, but attempts to compute an answer based on the user's input. According to the Wall Street Journal, like Google Squared, reviews of Wolfram Alpha have been "mixed."